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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

Under 10 mortality patterns, risk factors, and mechanisms in low resource settings of Eastern Uganda: An analysis of event history demographic and verbal social autopsy data

Globally, the under-10 years of age mortality has not been comprehensively studied. We applied the life-course perspective in the analysis and interpretation of the event history demographic and verbal autopsy data to examine when and why children die before their 10th birthday.

We analysed a decade (2005–2015) of event histories data on 22385 and 1815 verbal autopsies data collected by Iganga-Mayuge HDSS in eastern Uganda. We used the lifetable for mortality estimates and patterns, and Royston-Parmar survival analysis approach for mortality risk factors’ assessment.

The under-10 and 5–9 years of age mortality probabilities were 129 (95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 123–370) per 1000 live births and 11 (95% CI = 7–26) per 1000 children aged 5–9 years, respectively. The top four causes of new-born mortality and stillbirth were antepartum maternal complications (31%), intrapartum-related causes including birth injury, asphyxia and obstructed labour (25%), Low Birth Weight (LBW) and prematurity (20%), and other unidentified perinatal mortality causes (18%). Malaria, protein deficiency including anaemia, diarrhoea or gastrointestinal, and acute respiratory infections were the major causes of mortality among those aged 0–9 years–contributing 88%, 88% and 46% of all causes of mortality for the post-neonatal, child and 5–9 years of age respectively. 33% of all causes of mortality among those aged 5–9 years was a share of Injuries (22%) and gastrointestinal (11%). Regarding the deterministic pattern, nearly 30% of the new-borns and sick children died without access to formal care. Access to the treatment for the top five morbidities was after 4 days of symptoms’ recognition. The childhood mortality risk factors were LBW, multiple births, having no partner, adolescence age, rural residence, low education level and belonging to a poor household, but their association was stronger among infants.

We have identified the vulnerable groups at risk of mortality as LBW children, multiple births, rural dwellers, those whose mother are of low socio-economic position, adolescents and unmarried. The differences in causes of mortalities between children aged 0–5 and 5–9 years were noted. These findings suggest for a strong life-course approach in the design and implementation of child health interventions that target pregnant women and children of all ages.
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Date Published
2020 Jun 11
Type of Article
Research article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0234573. eCollection 2020.